National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Weather Threats to Plan For

Being weather ready not only includes getting advance warning of impending weather threats quickly, but also knowing what you are going to do when you get that warning. Receiving a tornado warning and seeing a tornado out of window is no time to think, "What should I do now?" 

This is true not only for the routine weather threats (like snow). But it's even more important to have plans for the 1 in 100 year weather threat (or more). The type of weather threat that hasn't happened in your experience, but has happened to the region long ago and will at some point happen again - such as a landfalling hurricane or a violent tornado.

For each of the Mid Atlantic weather threats below, think to yourself, "What would I do if I had a warning for <weather threat>?" Once you have that initial thought, use the information in each of the linked weather threats below to help you more fully flesh out your plan for each.

Of course the size of your entity you are protecting (family/individual vs. large organization), proximity to tidal and/or major rivers, and your available resources to devote to weather monitoring will also dictate how simple or complex you plans need to be for each. Some may not even require a plan for you - such as tidal flooding in the mountains.

To make it easy to start...just think, "What would I do for myself, my family, my location, my organization if I had a warning for each threat below?"

Thunderstorm Threats:

General (lightning)

Severe (damaging winds & lightning)

Tornado Warning

Tornado Sighted/Confirmed Warning



Flash Flooding/Torrential Rainfall

Rises on Major Rivers (if applicable)

Tidal (if applicable)


Extreme Temperatures:

Excessive Heat

Bitter Wind Chills


Exceptional Winds (link)




Freezing Rain


Hurricane or Tropical Storm (link)